Blue Note Hawaii: Dinner, Drinks, and Lisa Fischer

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Clap clap clap, clap clap

Clap clap clap, clap clap

The crowd kept the beat that the drummer laid down as he stood up and made his way over to the cajon closer to the front of the stage.

As JC and Adrian, the guitarist and bassist kept the rhythm of the song going as Thierry, the percussionist, took a seat on the cajon and dropped back into time.

All the while, Lisa Fischer hummed along a smooth, haunting melody that kept the audience rapt, waiting for the next phrase.

Sections like this happened periodically throughout the night, building tension like a slow simmer before segueing into a roiling solo or powerful refrain.

It was an enjoyable night at Waikiki’s Blue Note Jazz Club with Lisa Fischer and Grand Baton.

 

A few of the HA staff had the delightful opportunity to experience Blue Note’s deluxe dinner special, featuring a surf & turf dinner, a complimentary cocktail, and premium seating at that night’s show.

The dinner package is only available at the “early” show at 5:30 p.m., so we checked in at the jazz club shortly after 5:00 to get our seats and order drinks.

As we were seated, we noticed that each table has a star with an artist’s name engraved into the center, which really shows how famous the Blue Note club is.

star table

We were treated to the special “Surf & Turf” dinner special, which includes a three-course meal before the show and one drink.

As a package, this is definitely worth the price, especially since the steak and shrimp entree we were served isn’t normally available to order off the menu.

Our drinks came first, giving us an option to choose any glass on the menu including beer, wine, liquor, or cocktails.

I ordered a sazerac, which was delicious.

To begin dinner, we were served a green salad with balsamic dressing. Maira didn’t eat her tomatoes.

Our entrees were filet mignon served with a skewer of garlic shrimp on a bed of saffron rice and roast vegetables.

surfnturf dinner

It was amazing.

The steak was cooked perfectly (medium-rare) and the shrimp were flavorful without being overwhelmingly garlicky.

The dish was fairly large, being filling enough even without the salad or dessert.

Speaking of which, the dessert we received was a creme brulee served in an oval ramekin, which was also surprisingly big for a dessert in a three-course meal, with a macadamia nut shortbread cookie.

If you’re going to Blue Note to watch an artist and think you’ll buy a drink, appetizer, entree, and dessert, consider buying a package instead of ordering a la carte.

 

At 6:00 p.m., the band got on stage.

Lisa introduced Grand Baton, who has been touring with her for some years: JC on the guitar, Thierry on drums, and Aidan on bass.

Not being familiar with either, I still appreciated their skill and chemistry as a band.

Each artist clearly enjoyed playing, and they all had their own solos throughout the night to showcase their talent rather than just playing backup to Lisa Fischer.

grand baton

That isn’t to say that Lisa couldn’t have held it down for the entire 90-minute performance: her voice was powerful, being smooth and calming in one moment and bold and aggressive in the next.

The 90-minute set showcased a variety of styles, including Fischer’s soul/R&B vocals and her rock background, as well as Grand Baton’s prog-rock and fusion jazz leanings.

While I hadn’t heard any of Lisa Fischer or Grand Baton before, I came away with a smile on my face from the passion and fun the artists infused into their performance.

 

As a venue, Blue Note is great both visually and aurally.

Our premium seats were off to the side, but were close enough to the stage that we still had a clear view of the artists.

The seating past us—premium booths, loge tables, and bar seating—was raised depending on its distance from the stage, giving anyone an excellent view of the show, no matter where they sat.

bar view 2

While the venue was smaller than I expected, it creates a more comfortable atmosphere and ensures your view isn’t going to be blocked by a mass of people.

The club fits over 300 at capacity, with popular artists like Kenny G completely filling the venue with his New Years’ performance.

 

If you’re planning to go to a show at Blue Note, tickets range from $35 – $55 depending on where you’re seated.

Note, however, that every seat has a $10 minimum, so you’ll probably order a drink or side if you aren’t eating at the club.

Buying a package on Hawaiiactivities.com however, waives the minimum while also giving you a drink or meal to go with your tickets.

While menu items are on the pricey side, you’re at Blue Note for the music, and the consistent ticket prices are a definite draw for this jazz club.

 

If you’re interested in a ticket package, check out the hawaiiactivities Blue Note page, complete with a variety of dinner or drink packages, seating chart, and artist lineup updated monthly.

For more pictures of the venue, keep reading.

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